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Djokovic Says He Did Interview and Picture Shoot Even After Testing Optimistic

MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked males’s tennis participant, stated on Wednesday that he had participated in an interview and a photograph shoot in his native Serbia even after testing constructive for Covid-19, because the Australian authorities continued to research whether or not he ought to be deported as a threat to public well being.

Mr. Djokovic launched an announcement on social media that he stated was meant to “make clear misinformation” concerning the weeks earlier than he arrived in Melbourne, the place he was detained by Australian border officers earlier than being ordered launched on Monday by a federal choose.

However the assertion didn’t absolutely resolve a spread of questions which have swirled over Mr. Djokovic’s quest to stay in Australia and search a document twenty first Grand Slam title. Amongst them are precisely when he discovered of the constructive check end result, and the way his journey paperwork got here to misstate that he had not traveled internationally within the 14 days earlier than his arrival in Australia.

Mr. Djokovic’s assertion got here as Australia’s immigration minister stated he was nonetheless contemplating whether or not to train his private powers to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa once more, and as immigration officers had been investigating the discrepancies within the paperwork Mr. Djokovic introduced as he tried to enter Australia final week with an exemption from a requirement for Covid-19 vaccinations.

That exemption was granted by Australian tennis officers on the idea of what Mr. Djokovic has stated was a Covid an infection he had in mid-December. He had come beneath criticism over photographs on social media displaying him at occasions on the identical time he was supposedly contaminated with the coronavirus.

Mr. Djokovic said on Instagram on Wednesday that he had taken a PCR check on Dec. 16 after some individuals at a basketball sport he had attended two days earlier examined constructive for the coronavirus. Regardless of having no signs, he additionally took a fast antigen check “out of an abundance of warning,” he stated, and it got here again unfavorable.

On Dec. 17, he stated, as he was awaiting his PCR end result, he attended a tennis occasion in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, the place he introduced awards to youngsters. He stated that his PCR check didn’t come again constructive till after that occasion.

On Dec. 18, he went forward with an interview and a photograph shoot with the French sports activities newspaper L’Equipe “to meet a longstanding dedication,” he stated.

“I felt obliged to go forward and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t need to let the journalist down, however did guarantee I socially distanced and wore a masks besides when my {photograph} was taken,” Mr. Djokovic stated.

“Whereas I went dwelling after the interview to isolate for the required interval, on reflection, this was an error of judgment and I settle for that I ought to have rescheduled this dedication,” he added.

It was not the primary time Mr. Djokovic has needed to apologize for dismissive actions he has taken in the course of the pandemic. In mid-2020, because the virus raged in Europe and elsewhere, he held a tennis event after which he and a number of other others examined constructive.

Whereas Mr. Djokovic stated in his assertion on Wednesday that he “had not acquired the notification of a constructive PCR end result” till Dec. 17 — after the occasion involving youngsters — paperwork he offered to Australian officers as he tried to enter the nation stated that the end result had been returned the day earlier than.

A replica of his medical certificates for his constructive PCR check stated that the check was taken at 1:05 p.m. on Dec. 16 and that the constructive end result was returned at 8:19 on the identical day. In an affidavit offered to an Australian court docket, he stated, “On 16 December 2021, I used to be examined and identified with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID).” It was unclear when precisely he discovered of his purported constructive check.

The Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabic, stated this week that had Mr. Djokovic recognized that he was constructive for the coronavirus earlier than attending the awards occasion on Dec. 17, he would have “clearly violated the foundations” in Serbia.

However extra data was required, she added, saying, “I don’t know when he acquired the check end result, when he learn it.”

When requested what would occur if Mr. Djokovic was discovered to have breached quarantine guidelines, she stated the Serbian authorities would “cope with it.”

In his assertion, Mr. Djokovic additionally addressed questions concerning the declaration he made on his visa paperwork that he had not traveled to every other international locations within the 14 days earlier than arriving in Australia. The paperwork warns of significant penalties for false solutions to the query.

His declaration had appeared to be contradicted by social media posts displaying him touring between Spain and Serbia. On Wednesday, he stated his agent had made an “administrative mistake in ticking the inaccurate field.”

“This was a human error and definitely not deliberate,” he added.

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